An annuity is a policy in which you put money into in order to grow those funds and receive them as income. That income can be received either immediately or at a later time with a rate of return, such as during retirement. You can choose to either pay a lump sum or a number of payments paid yearly.
Immediate Annuity- A long-term contract that provides guaranteed payments almost immediately after making your first payment. These payments can be received either over a lifetime or within a specified period of time.
Deferred Annuity- Lets you choose when you want the payments to start coming in, usually upon retirement after earning tax-deferred interest.
Fixed Annuity- The insurance company takes the investment risk by placing money into a fixed rate, such as in a bond. It guarantees a minimum interest rate you will earn over time.
Variable Annuity- Tax-deferred retirement plan that allows you to choose from different retirement options that pay you based on how well your investments do. These investments may include stocks, bonds, mutual funds, or money markets.